Sports Don't Have to Ruin Your Credit Standing
You've got a boy, and he's been dreaming about winning the Stanley Cup. But he's got to start somewhere.
So you decide the best place to start is with skates. You go to Sportchek and quickly realize that the cheapest pair would set you back about $70, give or take. If your child persists that the National Hockey League is his goal, you're looking at spending up to $400. You try the other end of the spectrum, Wal-mart, for example. You can get all the way down to about $40, annoying your kid to no end in the process. Canadian Tire has similar costs.
It's difficult to play hockey without sticks. Let's begin with Sportchek again. Your kid may agree to start with a Sidney Crosby stick for $20. Wal-Mart? About the same. Shin pads: $30 and up. Hockey pants: $50 and up. Shoulder pads: $50 and up. So, there you have it. You're looking at spending a minimum of $500 just for equipment.
Hockey is a team game, the fastest team game on earth. Let's find a team to join, have practices and games. Don't forget gasoline expenses for taking your kid to those games. To rub it in, those little people keep growing maddeningly. The circle keeps repeating itself. A few talented individuals will realize their dream. Most won't, and they will eventually see that the NHL isn't in the cards and becoming an accountant, or a carpenter, or whatever else, is a more realistic, and probably much safer proposition.
Still, there are a few things your kid gets out of this experience, such as lessons in sportsmanship and a few life-long friendships. All you get is a receipt for team membership fees paid. You can attach them to your income tax return, for a $500 tax credit. No, you're not getting $500 back. The credit only means your income is cut by the amount you paid, and thus, your taxes may (or may not) get cut, too.
Of course, this isn't just about hockey. Let's say you have a daughter who's been dreaming about standing on top of the Olympic podium, fighting back tears when they play O Canada in honour of her figure skating gold medal win.
To learn to skate, a pair of skates for about $40 might do. Don't forget the outfit. If you're a seamstress, it's going to cost less. Price out your own time that you could have spent doing something else to earn you an income.
But your daughter simply knows she's the next Olympic champion. So, a figure skating club it is. A seasonal fee of $800 is NOT outrageous. And, of course, the skates will have to be markedly better. You're looking at $250 if you're lucky. Once you've gained experience in these matters, you can try the second-hand route within your new circles of figure-skating parents. That's markedly better: $75, for example. Except, now, your daughter is entering all kinds of competitions. New outfits for each. And she keeps growing out of her skates and outfits like nobody's business. If she's very good, she might end up joining a figure skating show.
If she's an Olympic gold medal winner, she might be a featured soloist. Her salary won't be as rich as a hockey player's, but it will be a nice income. For a little while, until a new Olympic winner shows up. World championships titles get her an "also starring" billing. National titles get her the front of the chorus line.
How about skiing? The same song and dance.
Here's a bit of practical advice. Before you go anywhere, check a few stores on the web. If you want to try Canadian Tire is not only easy to navigate, but it also groups individual sports so you can pick and choose what you want: an individual item or to equip your child (or yourself) from head to toe. SportCheck is also relatively easy to navigate. Strangely, Zellers doesn't exist: it re-directs you to Zellers. And the site is perfectly useless if you're looking for specific merchandise. Flyers galore, yes. A search engine for specific merchandise: ooooooops.
Still, make the effort. Not only will your children be healthier. It may very well happen that, once they grow up, they will be grateful to you. And that's something no money can buy.